Monthly Archives: December 2013


German Chocolate Cake

Christmas has come and gone and now it’s time to party for New Years!  And if party means watch the ball drop east coast time and be in bed by 9:00, then that’s my kind of party! This german chocolate cake has a lot of step, but they are easy steps and well worth the effort.

IMG_8307 IMG_8312 IMG_8314

Start by baking off your cakes, and when they are cool cut them half.  I never have much luck just eyeballing it so this is what I do.  Using a ruler find the middle of the cake.  This time for me it was 1 3/4 cm.  Then put in a toothpick to mark the center.  I did this four times all around the cake.


Then just go for it!  Place your hand on top of the cake and follow your toothpicks to cut the cake in half.

Continue reading


Mexican Vegetable Medley

This mexican vegetable medley is so versatile. It can be used as a taco filling, burrito filling, enchilada filling, or as taco salad topper. Its great to use up any vegetables you have floating around in your fridge too.

You start by chopping and dropping all of your vegetable into a large skillet.

IMG_6895 IMG_6896 IMG_6897 IMG_6898 IMG_6899 IMG_6901

I used chopped onion and garlic, zucchini, red bell pepper, canned black beans, and frozen corn.  Then just season it up with chili powder and cumin.

Stir around and continue cooking until all of the veggies are crisp tender.


I like to eat it over some lettuce with some cherry tomatoes thrown in topped with spicy ranch and salsa.

I make a whole pan of this and then leave it in the fridge and eat salads, quesadillas, or quick burritos all week.

I also like to vegetarian chorizo to the mix to amp up the protein, but Trader Joe’s has been out of it for months!

Mexican Vegetable Medley
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Mexican Vegetable Medley
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add in olive oil and then the rest of the ingredients.  Cook until the vegetables are crisp tender. Serve over lettuce, inside a taco or quesadilla, or use a  burrito filling.
  2. Eat!

Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

Whose is exhausted from the festivities from the past few days?  I know I am, but everyone still needs to eat.  Here are some quick and easy dinner ideas to get you thru the rest of the week.



Penne with Hidden Vegetables with a side of garlic cheese bread



Vegetarian Chili


Wet Burritos


Roasted Fish and Potatoes with a side of roasted broccoli


Autumn Squash Soup

Happy eating!


vines-6803 copy

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has a jolly and fun filled holiday with their families and friends.

We are always very busy on Christmas Day shuffling around to grandparent’s houses, but I would not have it any other way!

Here’s to a very Merry Christmas and that everyone’s list to Santa is fulfilled, and the real spirit and the reason for the season is remembered.

vines-7013 copy



Neighbor Gifts

Still scrambling for last minute neighbor gifts?  I’ve got you covered!

Why not put together a little cookie platter that includes chocolate bark?



For these I used my Trio of Holiday Barks, White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies, and peanut butter blossoms (I used the Hershey recipe).



A full batch of each one of those recipes made 7 platters.  I just grabbed these disposable tins from the dollar store.



Wrap them up in cellophane and tie with a pretty bow and there you have it!  A great neighbor gift idea!  Now maybe my neighbor will forgive me for the time my pug dog ran into his house and pooped right in his living room.  True story.



Cinnamon Rolls would also be a great neighbor gift! Just bake them off in the same disposable tins I used for the cookie platter.

Happy Baking!


Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls!  I used to love to fly with my family when I was younger just so I could eat at the Cinnabon at the airport (extra frosting please!).  Since we don’t fly on regular basis I had to come up with my own recipe for cinnamon rolls that are just like the ones at Cinnabon! In fact I think mine are better.


Who doesn’t love butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon spread over a sweet and tender dough?

Continue reading


Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

So it was my turn to bring snack to preschool and to church this week.  My kids are always starving when they return from both of these activities so I decided to send thing a little more substantial then fishy crackers. My kids, like I’m sure all kids, love banana.  And chocolate.  Probably chocolate over bananas.  But hey, at least they eat the bananas.


Those freckled bananas are perfect for this.  Mine could have even gone a few more days, but snack assignments were waiting! Another trick I do, is once the bananas are as freckled as you would like, I peel them and stick them in a freezer ziplock and plop them in the freezer.  Then when you are ready to use them just defrost in the microwave.  Plus, frozen bananas are great for smoothies.


This recipe calls for 3 mashed up very ripe bananas.  I like to just mash them up on a place with a fork.

Continue reading


Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

Another chocolate and peppermint recipe??? But why not?  It’s Christmas time and the flavors together are just so great! These cookies are rich from the chocolate base with a kick of peppermint from the white chocolate and peppermint flavored kisses.


These are so pretty and festive looking too.  Not to mention the taste!  The taste can’t be beat!

IMG_8168 IMG_8169

First you need to round up your little elves to help with the dough.

IMG_8181 IMG_8174

And get the littlest elf to unwrap kisses (and he did great! He unwrapped that whole bowl all by himself and didn’t even eat one!)


Plop the cookie dough on the cookie sheets and bake them off.  Right when they come out place a kiss in the center of each cookie, pressing down to adhere it to the cookie. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool completely so the kiss will harden.  You can place them in the fridge if you would like.


This is the last chocolate peppermint recipe I swear.  Maybe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
Serves: 48
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 12 oz bag or 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars until nice and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add in the eggs one at at time, and then the extracts.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa.  Add to the wet ingredients.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Place scant tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately place a kiss in the center of each cookie, pressing down to adhere the kiss to the cookie. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.  Allow the kiss to harden.  You may place the cookie in the fridge to speed up the process.
  5. Eat!

Recipe inspired by Our Best Bites.


Trio of Holiday Barks

Christmas is right around the corner and you need a quick treat to either take to a party or eat yourself and you don’t want to bake.  Well, these are perfect for you.  You can make all three or just one, but boy are they simple and delicious.

I don’t know why I don’t make more chocolate barks, they are so easy.


The three I made are butterscotch with pretzels and peanuts, semi sweet chocolate with cashews and cranberries, and a white chocolate peppermint bark.  You can’t go wrong with any one of them.  Or all three.

Continue reading


Gingerbread Milkshake

Mmmmmm, who doesn’t love a good milkshake?  And a gingerbread flavored one to boot?   When my local custard shop, Theron’s Frozen Custard, asked me to develop a holiday themed milkshake (which they call a concrete because the custard is so thick!) I immediately thought of gingerbread.  Who doesn’t love gingerbread?  It is such a universal flavor that screams Christmas.


You start by making a gingerbread flavored simple syrup.

Continue reading